by Oman Sail
Extreme Sailing Series 2014, Act five, Cardiff - The Wave, Muscat jumped a couple of places up the Extreme Sailing Series leaderboard in Cardiff to sit just two points off the top after an eventful but rewarding day that also saw Oman Air in contention after one of their best days of the series so far.
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 5, Cardiff. Oman Air and The Wave, Muscat Credit
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 5, Cardiff. The Wave, Muscat. Skippered by Leigh McMillan (GBR)
Two time champion Leigh McMillan and his crew have become known for taking their time – normally the first few hours of an event - before turning on The Wave, Muscat’s turbo chargers and Cardiff is no exception.
After pacing themselves on Friday, the customary The Wave, Muscat thrust was finally unleashed half way through racing on Saturday and they moved from fourth to second by virtue of two back to back wins on top of a string of mid fleet successes.
'It took us four or five races to get our starts sorted which was really frustrating but when we did, we got a couple of wins,' McMillan explained.
'We then had a few mess ups where we were getting to the windward mark in a better position than at the finish and that was quite unusual. I don’t normally make those kind of mistakes but a knock to the head in one of the earlier races set me back a bit and I was a bit out of it.
'It is difficult to get the first day right – we tend to be a bit rusty having not been on the boat for a few weeks. And I like to pace myself at the start of an event so it takes a while to get all the details right.
'Winning here is largely down to the starts – by the end of the day we were getting it right and things were starting to click and go well. It was a tough day but the team put in an awesome performance so we are headed in the right direction and on the up.'
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 5, Cardiff. The Wave, Muscat bowman Nasser Al Mashari (OMA)
A runners-up place in the last race left the crew on a high, and within two points of leaders Alinghi but knowing they have a mountain to climb to overhaul their long-time rivals in the remaining two days of racing.
'It was a very good day for us,' said Nasser Al Mashari.
'There were strong winds again with gusts up to around 20 knots. We had a slow start but by the end we were leading and that was what we were aiming for. So far so good – two good days for us.'
Rob Greenhalgh’s new look crew on Oman Air also enjoyed another successful day with a second outright win plus three seconds to retain their sixth place overall and bring Oman Sail’s podium place tally for the day to nine.
'Every Extreme day is a day of highs and lows but today we had a bunch of good races,' said Greenhalgh.
'Communication is so important in these boats because you are having to make split second decisions so getting time together in the boat is starting to pay dividends.'
'The starts are very competitive, everyone is fighting for every inch and any decision you make two minutes from the start is going to have a massive impact.'
As well as keeping on top of the conditions in Cardiff Bay, McMillan and his crew of Sarah Ayton, Nasser Al Mashari, Pete Greenhalgh and Kinley Fowler also played host to special VIP guest Jessica Fellowes, author of 'A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey' and niece of Downton Abbey Creator and Writer Julian Fellowes. It reminded her of being on the set of Downton Abbey, she said afterwards.
'It was amazing! I always cry at people doing things so brilliantly, so I’m afraid this did bring a tear to my eye – they are so absolutely impressive – I didn’t have a clue what was going on and was completely afraid of messing things up for them and not being in the right place at the right time, but the team was very nice to me and showed me where to be and when and we came third!
'There was some tension, you are sitting in your little corner on your own and you can see all this action going on around you – they are making snap decisions the whole time and you want to be helpful, but there is no way and you do your best to crawl along the netting the best you can!
'Racing on The Wave, Muscat today reminded me so much of being on the set of Downton Abbey because everybody knows how to do their job, it is very complicated, with a lot of people, and yet they all get it done with focus and calm.'
Cardiff Bay, where the Extreme 40 fleet action is staged close to shore, provides a superb viewing platform for 'Stadium Racing'. In addition, there is live music, street and open-air theatre, children’s entertainment and sporting and food events since Act five is one of the highlights of the 2014 Cardiff Harbour Festival.
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 5, Cardiff, Wales. Oman Air skippered Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) with Headsail Trimmer Kyle Langford (AUS), Trimmer Tom Johnson (AUS), Bowman Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA) and Bowman Musab Al Hadi (OMA)
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 5, Cardiff. Oman Air skippered Rob Greenhalgh (GBR)
The Extreme Sailing Series 2014 Act 5, Cardiff. Oman Air skippered Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) with Headsail Trimmer Kyle Langford (AUS), Trimmer Tom Johnson (AUS), Bowman Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA) and Bowman Musab Al Hadi (OMA)
Results Day one
Fri, 6:41 PM
Oman Air (OMA)
R2 Race R2
Fri, 7:03 PM
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
R3 Race R3
Fri, 7:28 PM
R4 Race R4
Fri, 7:48 PM
The Wave, Muscat (OMA)
R5 Race R5
Fri, 8:07 PM
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR)
R6 Race R6
Fri, 8:26 PM
J.P. Morgan BAR (GBR)
R7 Race R7
Fri, 8:46 PM
Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
R8 Race R8
Fri, 9:03 PM
R9 Race R9
Fri, 9:18 PM
SAP Extreme Sailing Team (DEN)
Event website .